A hooded gunman dressed in black opened fire at a country dance bar holding a weekly “college night” in Southern California, killing 12 people and sending hundreds fleeing, including some who used barstools to break windows and escape. The gunman was found dead at the scene.
A hooded gunman dressed in black opened fire at a country dance bar holding a weekly “college night” in Southern California, killing 12 people and sending hundreds fleeing, including some who used barstools to break windows and escape. The gunman was later found dead at the scene, the Associated Press reports. The dead from the shooting Wednesday night included 11 people inside the bar and a sheriff’s sergeant who was the first officer inside the door, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said. “It’s a horrific scene in there,” Dean said. “There’s blood everywhere.” It was the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. since 17 classmates and teachers were gunned down at a Parkland, Fl., school nine months ago.
The gunman at the dance bar was tall and wearing all black with a hood over his head and his face partly covered, witnesses said. He first fired on a person working the door, then appeared to open fire at random at the people inside. Sheriff’s Sgt. Ron Helus and a passing highway patrolman arrived at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks at about 11:20 p.m., the sheriff said. They heard gunfire and went inside. Helus was immediately hit with multiple gunshots. He died early Thursday. It’s not yet clear how the gunman died, and authorities do not yet know his name or have any idea of a motive. The bar, which includes a large dance hall with a stage and a pool room along with several smaller areas for eating and drinking, is a popular hangout for students from nearby California Lutheran University who enjoy country music. Shootings of any kind are rare in Thousand Oaks, a city of 130,000 people 40 miles west of Los Angeles.